Monday, September 7, 2009

Feast of Fields—Crispy Polenta with Fresh Corn and Aged Cheddar

Feast of Fields Ottawa - LambIt's harvest time, and for the fifth year in a row you can spend an afternoon feasting on the talents of organic farmers and chefs at Feast of Fields in Ottawa. Chefs are paired with area farmers to showcase this season's harvest.

When: Sunday, September 13, 2009, Noon to 4:00 p.m. (food served Noon to 2:00)
Where: Vincent Massey Park (near Riverside Drive and Heron Road)
Tickets: Available online and at listed retail outlets

I attended a pre-event to sample food made by the winners of the farmer/chef pairing from last year as well as preview food we can look forward to tasting at the event itself. We sampled a spicy orca bean quesadilla prepared by resident chef Candice Butler from Urban Element who is paired with Greta's Organic Farm this year. Greta owns an organic seed company that grows plants simply for their seeds with an eye for a plant's uniqueness in taste, appearance, color and shape. These seeds are the bread and butter of Greta's farm. In fact, when Carley visited to collect the ingredients for her dish, Greta removed the seeds from the peppers first!

Feast of Fields Ottawa - QuesadillaJennifer Heagle and Jo-Ann Laverty from The Red Apron, winners from last year's event, prepared a mild, tasty lamb from Aartje den Boer's farm called The Pickle Patch along with a vegetable medley of heirloom tomatoes, garlic and white beans. The organic crispy corn polenta with aged cheddar served on the side was particularly tasty and happily the chefs shared the recipe.

Crispy Polenta with Fresh Corn and Aged CheddarI'm looking forward to attending this event next week and sampling more dishes from all the creative chefs who are paired with the hard-working organic farmers in the area. Until then, I'll be enjoying this comforting cheesy corn polenta.

Recipe for Crispy Polenta with Fresh Corn and Aged Cheddar

from The Red Apron

Makes 1 9x9 pan

Crispy Polenta with Fresh Corn and Aged Cheddar ingredients
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh corn niblets from 1 cob of corn
2 tablespoons white wine, for deglazing
1¼ cup yellow cornmeal
1½ cups old cheddar, grated
¼ cup fresh thyme and rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon salt

Line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper.

In a pot, bring stock and cream to a simmer and set aside.

In a 2-quart saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft but not colored. Add garlic and corn niblets and sauté until corn is tender, about 3 minutes. Deglaze with white wine.

Add the stock and cream mixture to the saucepan and bring to a simmer.

In a slow, steady stream, add the cornmeal and cook over medium heat for 1 minute, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.

Remove from heat and stir in the grated cheddar and fresh herbs. Season with salt, to taste.

Pour mixture into pan. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Turn out the polenta and cut into desired shapes.

Pan fry the pieces in olive oil and a little butter until lightly browned on both sides or broil in the oven until browned.

Crispy Polenta with Fresh Corn and Aged Cheddar
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    Malak said...

    This looks amazingly tasty. I like the photos of all the colorful vegies. A feast for the eyes . . .

    Velva said...

    This was a great post! Polenta is so versatile and lends itself to so many flavors. Definitely not fully appreciated.

    What a great event to showcase the season's bounty.

    Alessandra said...

    How long do you cook the polenta for? Is it the instant polenta which cooks in 5 minutes?

    I never cooked polenta with stock, cream and so on, maybe I added something at the end of cooking , like butter or herbs, s this is very interesting and completely different.

    Kayte said...

    I love all the photos of the cooking, styling, etc. Such fun to see, almost feels like I was there. The polenta looks amazing and I know the guys would love this. Going to make this soon as we still have all this lovely fresh sweet corn. Thanks for the recipe!

    Shari said...

    Alessandra - I used regular yellow cornmeal and cooked it in the stock/cream mixture over medium heat for 1 minute. Hope that helps!

    syrie said...

    What a great idea. I need to find something like this in Australia. I'll definitely be trying those polenta squares. Thanks for sharing.

    Jennifer said...

    AMAZING!!! This is such a wonderful creation, every aspect of it!! What a lovely way to boast about the harvest! said...

    Feast of Fields is such an important event and we really appreciate you promoting it on whiskblog! Your photos, as usual, are fantastic.

    Jennifer & Jo-Ann

    vibi said...

    OH! My... this sounds divine! Although I usually don't care much for polenta (I think I still have to taste the good kind! LOL), those crispy, corn and cheddar words together make me regret I don't have it more often! Thanks for the reminder... I'll have to try soon!

    AmyRuth said...

    Polenta looks and sound so good, really whipping cream, cheese, butter, garlic and.... oh yes polenta. What's not to love about all of that? (except for all the gym work) Anyway, thank you so much for posting and sharing this recipe. I love it already. The photos are beautiful.

    sara@SproutedKitchen said...

    polenta is a glorious comfort food, so good! your recipes are fabulous, what a great blog!

    Monica H said...

    Beautiful vibrant photos as always and delicious looking food!

    Amber Mann said...

    This polenta looks great. I can't wait to try it!

    Anonymous said...

    Great photos! The polenta sounds fantastic!

    Anonymous said...

    Was really nice meeting you at Feast of Fields. Your Blog looks amazing. Keep up the good work.

    Best Dishes,

    Tim Wasylko